Friday July 15
12:00 PM RI Writing Within Constraints. Scott Edelman, Elaine Isaak, Michael Aondo-verr Kombol, John Langan, David Malki ! (leader), Madeleine Robins. Whether it's writing on a theme for an anthology, writing on assignment or commission, or simply imposing rules to jump-start your creativity, writing within constraints can be an incredible way to defeat "the tyranny of the blank page." We discuss the rewards and challenges of starting with someone else's idea.
2:00 PM VT Reading. John Langan. Langan reads from a work not yet selected.
3:00 PM F Whatever Remains, No Matter How Improbable: Horror and the Scientific Method. Gemma Files, Jack M. Haringa, Caitl�n R. Kiernan (leader), John Langan, Sarah Langan. What makes The Exorcist (book only) especially terrifying to a science fiction fan is the slow, laborious exhaustion of all rational explanations for the observed phenomenon, leaving demonic possession as the only alternative. The irrationality of horror becomes much more effective when its natural opponent, the scientific worldview and method, is neither dismissed a priori nor treated as a strawman. Beginning with the presumption that science is wrong and that there is inexplicable evil in the world might well provoke these readers' unconscious skepticism; playing by science's rules and reaching that conclusion is thrillingly convincing. What other works have exploited this dynamic? Are there advantages lost when the demonic world-view is not taken for granted but is instead painstakingly established? How do works that do this read to the naturally horror-minded?
8:00 PM E Autographs. Caitl�n R. Kiernan, John Langan.
Saturday July 16
1:00 PM Vin. Kaffeeklatsch. Victoria Janssen, John Langan.
7:00 PM ME The One Right Form of a Story. Judith Berman, Marilyn "Mattie" Brahen, John Langan, Meghan McCarron, Gayle Surrette (leader). Quoth Mark Twain: "There are some books that refuse to be written.... It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written--it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself." Anyone who has adapted a fairy tale for a poem or developed a short story into a novel might disagree, yet many authors have also spent years chasing stories that evade capture until they're approached in just the right way. What makes some stories easygoing and others stubborn? Is the insistence on a story "telling itself" a red herring? And what does "form" really mean here?
9:00 PM NH Supernatural Noir group reading. Ellen Datlow, Caitl�n R. Kiernan, John Langan, Barry N. Malzberg, Paul Tremblay. Contributors to Supernatural Noir read selections from their work.
Sunday July 17
11:00 AM G The Shirley Jackson Awards. F. Brett Cox, Ellen Datlow, Peter Dub�, Scott Edelman, Gemma Files, Caitl�n R. Kiernan, John Langan, Sarah Langan, Victor LaValle (moderator). In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson's writing, and with permission of the author's estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, "The Lottery." Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. The awards given in her name have been voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors, for the best work published in the calendar year of 2010 in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.
12:00 PM G The (Re)turn of the Screw. Michael Cisco, Caitl�n R. Kiernan, John Langan (leader), Geoff Ryman, Henry Wessells. Stories in which it's unclear whether the fantastic element is real or imagined by the characters have been regarded as central to the genre by scholars such as Tsvetan Todorov (who called this mode simply "the fantastic") and Farah Mendlesohn (one of her types of "liminal fantasy"). With novels such as China Miéville's The City and the City, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger, we seem to be experiencing a resurgence of this classic subgenre. Why now?
It's a good mix of panels. While I'm always happy to be part of the horror discussions, I'm also pleased to be included in discussions of writing craft. Now, I just have to figure out what I'm going to read from...
Current Mood: cheerful